Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jarrett Library 2014 Bucket List

As a reference and instruction librarian here at ETBU, I often find myself lost in the stacks or the archives just marveling at the resources that are available to our students. The sad thing is, many of these resources one might never know about unless they were looking for that specific item and proceeded with wisdom to ask one of your ETBU librarians where you might find it. We have incredible information that many people aren’t aware of – this is the librarian’s lament. Apparently, I’m not alone in this lament as a fellow librarian over at UGL in Illinois touched on the same idea in the post “Listful Thinking” which includes a lovely bucket list for their soon to graduate students. It is a beautiful attempt to help those future alums soak in the value of their college library just one more time before they head off to new adventures (and new libraries).

To our soon to graduate 2014 seniors: 

We, the librarians and staff of Mamye Jarrett Library eagerly awaited your arrival your first semester on campus. We thought about what types of resources you might need and how we might get those to you. We made plans to greet you in your first days on campus and tried to make sure that you were able to register for your very first account with us. Throughout your time with us we looked forward to seeing your faces – even during finals at 3 a.m. – and hoped that when you called on us we would be able to help you find that perfect resource for your research. In a sense, we’ve watched you grow up as researchers – from helping you figure out an your first Turabian footnote to helping you navigate the burgeoning seas of information – we’ve been there when you’ve let us be there and for that, I must say, this librarian is grateful. Now as you get ready to walk down across that stage on May 3rd, know that the librarians and staff of Jarrett Library will be cheering you on in our best dress (and for some it should be noted, this includes an eye-popping shade of lemon yellow) as you head off to face a new world of information -- hopefully with the information literacy tools we’ve tried to impart to you along the way. 

But before you go, here are a few things we think you should try and experience before you kick the proverbial academic bucket –

  • Flex your government knowledge as you attempt to name each American President featured in our Mosaic Wood Carving Presidential Portraits collection in the library’s Heritage Room.
  • Take a trip into the nostalgia of your childhood while visiting our Children’s Literature stacks. Find your favorite book from days gone by and take a moment to let your pending adulthood soak in.
  • Spend some time flipping through the history of ETBU by looking at our extensive collection of ETBU annuals housed within our University Archives.
  • Check out a key for a study room from the circulation desk for a last ditch effort to study quietly.
  • Take some time to click through our Digital Archives featuring the inauguration of Dr. Samuel “Dub” Oliver.
  • Have you managed to grasp the Library of Congress Classification System while you were here? If so, venture out and try to find a book on your own in the stacks. (And if you haven’t mastered it just yet, we’re still here to help – no judgement)
  • Tackle that last group project with your pals in the library’s Heritage Room – where it’s definitely okay to talk.
  • Host an impromptu film festival using the feature films collection found in your library – Star Wars anyone?
  • Use the microfilm machine to find out what was happening in Marshall, Texas the day that you were born.
  • Slow down the aging process by perusing what all the kids are reading these days in our Young Adult Collection.
  • Read all of the plaques nestled on the walls throughout the library – you might even learn something.
  • Get a few friends together and snap a selfie with our Seagulls Statue.
  • Follow the library on Facebook and Twitter so that we can still be a part of your life.
  • Ask a librarian to help you with your sources or research – for old time’s sake.
  • Take a well deserved snooze on one of our oh-so-comfy couches.
And finally, stop in and tell us goodbye before the big day because we are certainly going to miss you. We wish you the best! 

(one last tip… track down your local public library the minute you get where you are going – they’d like the help you too!)

-  by Elizabeth Ponder, Librarian & Manager of Instruction & Information Services

Thursday, April 3, 2014

On National Library Week & Changing Lives

It would be difficult not to be inspired by the great author and lover of libraries Neil Gaiman’s 2013 lecture for the UK Reading Agency titled, “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming.” Anyone that has read anything in support of libraries could have stumbled upon Mr. Gaiman sharing about the value of libraries and the difference they have made in his life – and this librarian would say, “Rightly so.”

It should come as no surprise that Gaiman has been quoted as saying about National Library Week, “You should be especially nice to a librarian today, or tomorrow. Sometime this week, anyway. Probably the librarians would like tea. Or chocolates. Or a reliable source of funding.” Of course, I would add being nice to library staff members, student workers, government officials that support library funding, and friends of the library to that list. 

I don’t tell you this to suggest that the reference desk (or the circulation desk or the technical services desk or the director’s desk) should be laden with chocolates and tea this year during the week of April 13-19. (Now, if you have an extra reliable source of funding lying around, by all means, laden us.) 

If it happens, it happens. 

That being said, National Library Week for me is less about my role as a librarian and more about the role of the library as a resource here on the campus of ETBU and in the community in which I live and work. 

What I would rather do is draw your attention to is this year’s theme that libraries do intend change lives. 

The American Library Association says this about the impact of libraries: 

“Libraries today are more than repositories for books and other resources. Often the heart of their communities, campuses or schools, libraries are deeply committed to the places where their patrons live, work and study.  Libraries are trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues.”

In my brief years as a teacher, then public librarian, now academic librarian, I have learned that people have different experiences with libraries. For some the library becomes a sort of sanctuary – a safe, quiet place where they can retreat; for others, the library is a place to gather with other members of your community – an active place where important discussions take place; for me it has always been a place where  I can explore the ideas of others – believe it or not, I still have the very first public library card that was ever issued to me personally complete with my grade school attempt at a cursive signature! No matter what your experience with libraries, it is likely that whether you know it or not, a library has in some way changed your life.

This year for NLW we are asking our ETBU family to once again tell us about five books -- specifically, five books that have changed your life. Books have the ability to open up new ways of thinking for us to help us learn, develop empathy, and engage with others. That being said, I hope that this year during National Library Week you will also take a moment to remember that libraries change lives in ways other than just the books we collect. Libraries have the ability to change lives through free access to information, programs, education, technology, and much more. Won’t you show your Jarrett love, dear patrons, and join us in celebrating National Library Week 2014, April 13-19?

And now I ask you… How have libraries changed your life?

- by Elizabeth Ponder, Librarian & Manager of Instruction & Information Services

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From the Reference Desk: Writing a Research Paper: Picking a Topic

Starting a research paper can appear to be a daunting task to many students, especially when you don’t know what to write about! Here are two databases that may help you pick topics that will interest you and, in turn, help you earn the grade you desire -- CQ Researcher and Credo Reference both offer considerable support to students in search of an excellent research topic.
Credo promotes knowledge building, problem solving and critical thinking to give people the information skills necessary for success throughout their academic, professional and personal lives.” 

Credo Reference, found by under the  “C” tab in Databases A-Z, is not only an excellent database for basic informative searches but also for picking a research topic. Credo’s "Mind Map" and "Find Topic" Pages tabs are great tools to use when finding a topic is becoming a chore and a headache. By using the "Mind Map" tab students are able to connect concepts by simply entering an idea, or interesting subject matter into the search bar. The "Mind Map" allows for connections to be made between ideas that can then be zoomed in or out, to either broaden or narrow a result finding.  The "Find Topic Pages" tab allows students to search various categories and then displays topic pages that are affiliated to the chosen category. 

CQ Researcher is “noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy.”

CQ Researcher, found again under the “C” tab in Databases A-Z, utilizes a "Hot Topics" and "Most Viewed" margin to aid in the selection of a research topic. Popular subjects include climate change, health care and immigration. Students can also take advantage of the "Browse Topics" tab or the "Featured Report of the Day." Perhaps what makes CQ Researcher most ideal for a frustrated, possibly hurried student are its simple and well organized reports, an available chronology, and the related reports given on the right of the screen.

While these two databases are can be very helpful in finding a topic for your upcoming essay, you have access to several more databases through the library website like TOPICsearch, Points of View Reference Center, Research Starters: Education and Research Starters: Sociology.  You can also access the Jarrett Library Research Guide on Basic Library Research and Selecting a Topic

- by Kayla Milligan, Library Associate for Reference